Posts Tagged ‘screenwriting’

Screenplay Reading

I finally got to hear a reading of my screenplay out loud by voices other than those in my head! Yay! I received some great feedback that will be helpful towards my final script. I haven’t had a chance to work on it yet because I’ve been so busy with the Taste Better Wit show. Now that it’s over, I can move forward with my next project – grant writing. I need to figure out how I am going to get money to make this short film. I have a lot of good things going for this film so far.

1) The topic is related to negative body image. I’d like to bring light to a topic that I’ve been concerned about for a very long time. Magazines, fashion, television, & movies all tend to worship the “skinny bitch” image for women and I don’t condone it. I know I am always trying to lose weight but there’s a difference between doing it for health or for happiness.

2) I have a fantastic comedian as the director. He’s actually my favorite comedian, Kevin Camia. I approached him about the idea and since he’s a professional in comedy, he will be guiding me on the final script and directing it! What a dream this is.

3) I have the full support of my friends. Roles I need to fill: Music composer-check. Band-check. Makeup artist-check. Choreographer-check. Producer-check. Assistant director-check. Now, all I need is to hold an audition and get some actors, then do a call out for crew when I’m ready.

4) Cameo time from one of my favorite comedians! I was inspired & wanted to write in a quick character in my script based on a character that one of my favorite comedians created. However, the only person I could see playing that part was him. So I hit him up somehow and he said he was definitely open to it because he had never done that before. Yay!! Imagine my enthusiasm when he told me that. I don’t want to reveal who it is because I don’t want to jinx myself so I’ll just be keeping my fingers crossed.

Other than that, life is treating me well and I am extremely excited for things to come. It’s a lot of hard work but the payoff is astoundingly rewarding.

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I Just Want To Create

I added a couple more items to my Etsy page and am excited to continue making more things. I’m constantly looking for inspiration but I don’t have too far too look. It is all around me. I could be inspired by a piece of chewed gum, you just never know. Here are the pics.
Sterling Silver Chain with Silver Wire Pendant
Sterling Silver Chain with Silver Wire Pendant

Choker with Turkish silver cross & antique silver tubes
Choker with Turkish silver cross & antique silver tubes

India Glass Bead with Heart Charm Bracelet (Sold)
India Glass Bead with Heart Charm Bracelet

I really want to venture into making jewelry for men and things that are edgier. This really isn’t my style, too bridal. I like the choker though but it’s so plain to me. Ah well, in time. Today, I’m going to teach myself how to make wire wrapped rings like this one:

wire wrap ringPhoto from Michigan Bead Supply Co.

Another thing I wanted to address. I had been encouraging a friend of mine to write a script because he is so humorous & zany. He kept saying he would and had been coming to me for advice on a script is written. I wasn’t sure he was taking my words to heart until last night when he told me writing was harder than he thought but he was 33 pages in and had 70 – 80 more pages to go. I was so shocked & proud of him. I cannot wait to read his script!! I’m pretty sure it will have wacky scenes and crazy scenarios and he tells some pretty funny stories just for the sake of comedy. Love it!! This has been encouraging for me. Now I feel inspired to continue with my own script. It’s only halfway done for now but I can’t wait to see what happens in my story. I am constantly inspired by events surrounding me, things that happen to me, and the people I come in contact with. When my film goes up, it’s possible my friends will recognize a situation onscreen. Yes, it’s that easy. :0)

Back to School?

A friend of mine recently told me about wanting to get her MFA and that idea came into my head. What would I do with an MFA? What could it do for me? Besides, there’s probably no MFA in what I want to do, which is screenwriting.

Last night, a student raised his hand in my screenwriting class and asked about how to get into the business of writing for television. One method my teacher mentioned was to get an MFA in Screenwriting, which is offered at CSU Northridge.

Hmm. Kismet.

So I got to thinking, is this something I want to pursue? Isn’t it a bit late in life to be changing my mind? What a dream it would be to have a Master’s Degree under my belt. I’ve always believed in higher education. I did some research today on the cost to get this degree if I attended 2 classes per semester. It takes a total of 30 units to get this degree and if I took 6 units per semester & the cost of tuition remained at $2,254 at max 6 units, that means I would be spending a total of $11,270 plus housing, food, entertainment, necessities, & gas. Not to mention any bills I have to pay. Geez. The price tag is a bit high for someone like me. So I started looking into alternatives.

My teacher also mentions script festivals, contests, fellowships, etc. but none of them really gave me the satisfaction of knowing I’ll have tangible proof of some sort of achievement that a Master’s Degree will. Plus, it would be nice to see what it’s like to live in Southern California for awhile. I’ve always enjoyed those Venice Beach bike rides. My favorite SoCal activity by far. Yeah, I’m pretty boring, and yet I want to tell stories on film.

Anyway, here are just a few resources I came across. Maybe I’ll use them one day.

On The Page
Writing Contests
LA Film & Script Fest
Skyfest
CSU Northridge MFA in Screenwriting

The Importance of Creative Archives

For people who like to dabble in a little bit of everything within the creative world (like me), there seems to be a catch-22 for every area of interest. For example, if you want to become an artist, you have to submit art that looks promising. but to create art that looks promising, you have to learn in school. Yeah, I guess you have to use your imagination and find resources besides school, which brings me to my point of discussion.

There was a minute in my life that I considered acting as a career, a verrrry shorrrt minute. I took acting workshops and participated in short plays but that nervous feeling right before I’m about to go onstage gets on my nerves. So I thought being on film would be easier. Now, I’m not so sure of that. I helped a friend in a short film she made for a film class and that experience was fun but at the same time, I couldn’t tell if I did a good job or not. Plus, I was very green at the time with acting and now that I look back at it, I was probably really terrible with my lame facial expressions. However, that fueled me to want to improve.

I recently met a young lady who was interested in voice acting for a living but she was having hard time finding gigs for it as it was something that’s really hard to get into. I believe her, I mean, there’s got to be so much competition out there. Of course I told her that my favorite actor is a voice actor so I understood why she wanted to go into it but she wasn’t sure where to go from there. She thought maybe she has the wrong agent who keeps giving her commercial gigs that she didn’t want to do.

I was on Twitter the other night and Jason Marsden, a very talented onscreen and voiceover actor, was talking about a voiceover audition he went to so I asked him how to get into the business. He said “1st step into VO acting? Learn how to act.” He said to then “make a reel first. 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, tight, lots of diversity.” It was nice to get advice from a professional and I really appreciated him replying; makes me believe there are still down-to-earth celebs out there without egos, which I do not stroke. Celebrities are just people & fans have to understand that. Meeting NKOTB has really conditioned me, I guess. You rock Jason, thank you. When he said that, I was immediately reverted back to my past goals and achievements in acting.

I’m trying to help complete my profile for PMSTA and Shannon, the website designer, is asking me for footage of my past work. It was then that I realized I don’t really have much on video that I’ve done. If anything is recorded, I’m certainly not aware of it. Shit. So does this mean I can never get it together in the acting world since I have nothing recorded to show for it? The only recorded footage I actually own of myself is my stand up comedy routine that I once did and I can’t use that, it’s not acting! I guess it is still a part of creativity though but still, I’m just a little bit EMBARRASSED by my silly shenanigans! But then again, if I want to be known for comedic material, I guess maybe I should include that routine…I’ll think about it.

Right now, my focus is writing & completing “Not Quite Unrequited”, the screen version. Yesterday, out of nowhere, I was creatively plugged in and I almost finished the whole treatment for the script. Even while I drove to work, my mind was still grinding away. By Sunday night, I will have the first act done and that is my goal. At least with writing, I can archive it.

Wow, this post was just all over the place.

Gimme 5 Minutes

I’m about to go to sleep so I’m going to do this old school and write whatever comes to mind for 5 minutes, like I used to. I went to Wordy Word today, which is a bi-weekly event that Bindlestiff Studio holds for artists to test out their work in front of an audience. We have a new venue, Rancho Parnassus, a cafe at 505 Minna St. in SF. It was funny because when one of the writer’s scripts was being read onstage during all these intense moments, you could see outside the big window to the left of the stage that some girls were being patted down. Ahhh, Sixth St. That is what I know you for. Art & crime just steps within vicinity of each other. My thought process was, “Hey, no fair! The crime scene is upstaging the reading!” and “I wonder if a bullet can go through this wall or would it ricochet?” Anyway, as I drank my first kombucha tonight, I thought about how much it tasted like beer and how little I know about kombucha. Is it alcoholic? Because it gave me a headache.

On another note, I was chosen to read the first 2 pages of my story for my screenwriting class and I have to read it on Monday. Guess I’d better start it then? That would be a good idea. This has completely changed my plan to write a completely different as I have to finish my short film as well. Might as well kill two birds with one stone and just use my short film project simultaneously for my screenwriting class. I’m keeping the characters, just changing the story. I refuse to put the original on screen as it already went on stage.

I also found out today that my drawing instructor might die. He was in a car accident and is in critical condition. He was already in a wheelchair before this. He taught me how to draw the things I posted in Adventures of a 6B Pencil. He’s a really great teacher and I hope he makes it through.

Okay, that’s all I’m going to write. My eyes are almost closed and I can’t even see if I’m spelling things right so I’m going to pardon my own typos if any.

Influential Figures

I met Lise Swenson yesterday. She was the substitute teacher for my screenwriting class. She gave us some background about herself and told us about her dreams & aspirations. She is the director of a documentary film that was made back in 2002 called “Mission Movie.” She talked a lot about how to create a movie that fits the audience you want your film to appeal to and I agreed with her 100%.

She said that if you want to write a movie and get a broad audience, your characters need to appeal to them as well. Having a bunch of older, unknown actors in the movie as opposed to having a bunch of beautiful, young actors in the movie is going to make a big difference in terms of your marketability. I really never thought of it that way at all even though it is probably your most basic of basics in choosing what kind of film you want to write.

We also watched a documentary called A Screenwriter’s Journey. It was about Waldo Salt, one of the world’s the greatest screenwriters. It talked about how Waldo Salt was a Communist and was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Committee of Un-American Activities. He eventually realized that Communism was a betrayal but still, he could not write for Hollywood, causing his spirit to plummet to zero. Salt struggled to write during the blacklisting under a pseudonym but even after the blacklist was over, he tried to write again and wrote 3 of his worst movies: Tara Bulbas, Wild & Wonderful, and Flight from Ashiya.

It wasn’t until 1969 when he did the screen adaptation for Midnight Cowboy starring Jon Voight & Dustin Hoffman and won himself an Oscar for it in 1970!! What a great comeback! I was truly inspired by this story. His ups & downs proved to make quite a roller coaster of a life but he kept on going until his passing in 1987. Just 6 months before his death, he won the Laurel Award for Screen Achievement, which is the highest award you can receive from the Writer’s Guild of America.

I hope one day, I will be able to pump out something beautiful on paper in a language that can move even the most callous of souls.

“To search for truth you must first have lost it” – Waldo Salt

Becoming A Storyteller

I’ve never done so much reading in my life, not even in high school. At least in high school, I was really only reading one book at a time for English class. Textbooks don’t count since I only had to read lessons, learn from examples, and copy answers from the back of the book. Last night, I plowed through page after page from a book, a literary magazine, 2 scripts, a novel excerpt, and a barrage of emails. In addition to that, I also had to draw 2 items 3 times for my art class. I’m starting to dislike 6B pencils. Found myself sharpening every 15 minutes.

I never realized how much concentration it took for me to really absorb myself into a book. Have you ever read through 40 pages only to walk away from it without having listened to even one sentence? Did your mind wander to all the different chores you still have to do, people you still need to email, projects you have yet to complete or ideas you have to record? I walk away from my readings having mentally completed multiple task lists and planning my week out rather than paying mind to the book in hand. Of course in the end, I have not actually done the tasks I mentally prepared myself to do nor absorbed the material I just spent 3 hours reading so I end up having accomplished zilch.

Things must change. If I’m going to start a side career writing scripts & stories, I’m going to have to give as much as I get. Thank you to my friends who critique my scripts & stories. I promise to give back and actually pay attention to your words too. I’m not bullshitting you neither because this time, I finally have an actual feature length story to tell and I’d really like to get your feedback!

I pitched the synopsis to a friend of mine up to the climax and she was badgering me for the conclusion, which I hadn’t decided yet. Her reaction gave me inspiration to pursue the story and maybe someday sell the script. If I can’t sell it, I will get it produced myself. I have to say, reading “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Writing” by Robert McKee has been extremely helpful, probably the most insightful book on writing that I have ever read. It broke down all the reasons why people love movies, how a good story is told, how to refrain from clich├ęs, etc. Everything you need to learn about how to screenwrite a story is in here! It was published in 1997 so some of the movies they mention are a bit outdated but nonetheless, the material is still relevant to this day.

By the end of May, I hope to have completed at least a first draft of a feature-length screenplay. That is my goal on my writing side right now. I’m very excited to finally begin this chapter of my life.

3 Notations

1. I am dumbfounded, floored, shocked beyond belief. My boss approved my vacation days so I don’t have to worry about not being able to see Paulo!! Yes, I was going to quit as a last resort but in the end, I know I would have regretted that.

Sigh…what a relief. Now, all I can think about is dieting & what I’m going to wear. Which brings me to my second change-my diet.

2. A friend of mine recently tried a diet I actually have never heard of. I would write it on here but since I’m in a competition with my BFF for weight loss, I’d rather not expose myself until I find out that it actually works for me. It sounds a bit gimmicky because it declares rapid weight loss but if you read all the reviews, how it works, and success stories, it sounds pretty legit! I know my fat, diet-obsessed ass has said to have tried it all but this one, I seriously have never heard of and have high hopes for it because I really want to wear something nice when I go see Paulo. I honestly can not stop thinking about it. I CAN’T!! I’ve even fantasized about a Q&A session where I get to ask Paulo if he would still consider participating in low-budget independent film projects, something I might embark on in the future-which brings me to my next note-screenwriting.

3. I was at the bookstore last night and while looking for another monologue book, I came across a screenwriting section. I started flipping through the books and reading up on the world of screenwriting. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this but I really love writing scripts. Perhaps there may be a place for me in this world after all. We shall see. :0)

P.S. Wasn’t it nice that I didn’t mention anything about some crazy new crush? I must be too distracted.